Vodafone fined £4.6m for breaking customer rules

28th Oct 2016

Vodafone has been fined £4.625m by Ofcom for “serious and sustained” breaches of customer protection rules.

The telecoms operator failed to credit the accounts of 10,452 pay-as-you-go customers after they paid to top up their credit, costing affected customers £150,000 over a 17-month period.

Ofcom said Vodafone had “failed to act quickly enough to identify or address these problems, which stemmed from the company transferring to a new billing system.

“Only after Ofcom intervened did the company take effective steps to stop pay-as-you-go customers from paying money for nothing, and to reimburse those affected,” it added.

In response to the ruling, Vodafone UK commented: “We deeply regret these system and process failures. We are completely focused on serving our customers: everyone who works for us is expected to do their utmost to meet our customers’ needs, day after day, and act quickly and efficiently if something goes wrong. 

“It is clear from Ofcom’s findings that we did not do that often enough or well enough on a number of occasions. We offer our profound apologies to anyone affected by these errors.”

The ruling serves as a reminder for businesses of the importance of acting quickly when problems arise, said Jo Causon, chief executive of The Institute of Customer Service.

“It is crucial that organisations ‘get it right first time’ wherever possible when it comes to interacting with their customers,” she explains.

Our research shows the speed of resolving an issue and an empathetic approach are two of the most important factors in achieving customer satisfaction. 

“In turn, this leads to higher levels of trust, loyalty and recommendation – indeed, the correlation between trust and satisfaction is even stronger than just one year ago.

“If customers don’t feel they are listened to and looked after, they will vote with their feet and that will inevitably impact on business’ bottom line.”

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